When you run 26.2 miles your body needs time to heal. The muscles tear, the glycogen is depleted, and energy is zapped. Most people take anywhere from a few days to several weeks off before hitting the pavement again. After marathon number 2 in November I waited 2 days before getting back out there, and I seemed to do pretty well. I am debating even as I type if I will head out tomorrow after school. The drive and motivation to run will most likely win tomorrow about 3:30ish.
Once you get in the routine of running it so hard to respect and observe the recovery time needed for your body to heal, yet it is so crucial to the next race. I always make sure to have a massage within a day or two of the race. I went today for my normal post marathon hour, and let me say... OUCH! It was more like an hour in a medieval torture chamber than a healing massage. My muscles were a mess! More than once I screamed...ok, maybe not a scream, but it was a definite bellow of extreme discomfort. The only thing that made me enjoy it was that I knew it was helping me for my next run. Of course this was expected after 26.2 miles, but that did not diminish the pain any less. Regardless of the pain, I remained in that euphoric state of happiness with my accomplishment Saturday.
The recovery just adds to the high. It let's me know that I worked hard, achieved an amazing feat, and helps me to look forward to the next big run! Maybe a 50K or 50 miler is in my future yet....who knows?